Nov 09 2016

The Day After

Posted at 9:37 am under Posts

Everything has changed
For in truth, it’s the beginning of an end
And nothing has changed
Everything has changed

HeathenI haven’t watched the news today. I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the TV. When I started the car and heard the “Morning Edition” theme, I snapped off the radio.

To open this WordPress page I had to hide my Safari home page off screen.

I’m not ready to face reality.

While walking the dog, I thought about the assignment I gave students: “Thoughts about the election.” What would I write? How would I express my own emotions? My anger? My fear.

For what ever reason, I thought about David Bowie. I was never a huge Bowie fan, but like everyone else, I was saddened by his death earlier this year. One song, one lyric, swam up from the depths of memory.

Please don’t tear this world asunder
Please take back this fear we’re under
I demand a better future

Back in 2002 I drove my beat-up Isuzu pickup to Milwaukee and back. I must have listened to Heathen–all 12 songs–a dozen times over the weekend. Something in the album clicked with me.

I have no idea what Bowie intended with the album, but I heard wistfulness. Bowie then would have been my age now. The songs seemed to be Bowie looking at his life and thinking, “There has to be more.”

There had to be a little bit of 9-11 in Bowie’s thoughts as he worked on the album. He was a New Yorker, after all. But at the same time his career had stalled a bit. Maybe he was thinking about his legacy. Maybe he was thinking about what was ahead and how he would face a future where he would have nothing to say.

What made my life so wonderful?
What made me feel so bad?
I used to wake up the ocean
I used to walk on clouds

I sympathized, even though I was only forty. And with W newly installed in the White House, I know I was worried about what the future would bring.

(A more appropriate Bowie song for today would be “I’m afraid of Americans,” but I’m again listening to Heathen.)

The title song is the last song on the album. Generally that would be the time for the artist to extend some hope. After a reflective and generally dark album (the song “Cactus” is written from the perspective of a stalker), Bowie can’t seem to muster the energy to be optimistic. The last verse of the song and the album is a farewell:

And when the sun is low
And the rays high
I can see it now
I can feel it die

Mortality is a bitch. Every parent’s hope is to leave the better world a better place for his/her children. The reality for my generation is that we will leave our children a cesspool. Hillary maybe, with some help, could have diminished the worst effects of climate change, fear, hate, and xenophobia.

Trump is going to turn that cesspool into a shithole nightmare. God, if you exist, help us.

No responses yet

Comments are closed at this time.